Our top 5 long reads of 2020

In-depth reporting that you may have missed.

We've made it to the final week of 2020—a big accomplishment in a year that felt never-ending.

With the holidays here, you may have a little more time to relax. Wondering what to do with that time? We've got you covered.


Kick up your feet, grab a mug of your favorite hot drink and settle in to catch up on our top five long reads of the year. From the ocean floor to the forests of North Carolina to the blustery North, below are our top investigations and features.

1. Unplugged: Abandoned oil and gas wells leave the ocean floor spewing methane

Gulf of Mexico oil and gas drilling

The Gulf of Mexico is littered with tens of thousands of abandoned oil and gas wells, and toothless regulation leaves climate warming gas emissions unchecked.

2. How Europe’s wood pellet appetite worsens environmental racism in the US South

An expanding wood pellet market in the Southeast has fallen short of climate and job goals—instead bringing air pollution, noise and reduced biodiversity in majority Black communities.

3. ‘Them plants are killing us’: Inside a cross-border battle against cancer and pollution

Air pollution Sault Ste. Marie Ontario

Two communities — one in Canada, one in the U.S. — share both a border along the St. Marys River and a toxic legacy that has contributed to high rates of cancer. Now the towns are banding together to fight a ferrochrome plant.

4. Microplastics in farm soils: A growing concern

Researchers say that more microplastics pollution is getting into farm soil than oceans—and these tiny bits are showing up in our fruits, veggies, and bodies.

5. Exempt from inspection: States ignore lead-contaminated meat in food banks

Hunter-donated meat provides crucial protein to US food banks. But an EHN investigation found a lack of oversight that could result in potentially hundreds of thousands of lead-contaminated meals this year.

Banner photo: The Algoma steel plant after sunset, in Sault Ste., Marie, Ont., on Friday, Jan., 17, 2020. (Credit: Christopher Katsarov Luna/EHN)

www.wired.co.uk

EVs are changing the future of roadside breakdown

You can’t tow an electric car when it’s run out of charge, so what do you do?

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www.nbcnews.com

Earth's energy imbalance removes almost all doubt from human-made climate change

A new study found a less than 1 percent probability that a growing imbalance between the amount of energy Earth absorbs and what it emits out occurred naturally.

Ex-SpaceX engineers in race to build first commercial electric speedboat

LA-based Arc Boat company announces $4.25m seed fund to start work on 475-horsepower craft.

vtdigger.org

A long history of building for cold weather may have consequences as the climate warms

Burlington was recently found to have an exceptionally high level of trapped heat compared to other cities. That could be partly due to building design intended for colder climates.

When climate change came for my favorite glacier

As a college student, writer Julia Rosen spent a summer on Alaska's Taku Glacier, which kept growing for decades in spite of warming temperatures. Now, she reckons with its uncertain fate.

thenarwhal.ca

In Manitoba, drought worsened by climate change is upending Prairie life

Farmers wait, desperate for rain, in a prolonged season of extremely dry conditions across central Canada where both provincial and federal government have intervened with emergency adaptation measures.